SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 10 -- San Francisco Bay Area, a popular site for Chinese investors, continues to attract Chinese home buyers who have turned to new, lower-priced tiers, said Bei Qin, a realtor based in Cupertino of California, on Sunday.
"Traditionally, Chinese buyers have been buying higher-end homes all in cash, but these days they're increasingly searching for lower-priced properties," she said.
Qin noted that more middle-class buyers from China are getting into the market and using mortgages much more often to finance such purchases.
Several lenders in the San Francisco Bay Area now specifically cater to this demand of Chinese buyers, she added.
For the sixth consecutive year, China exceeded other countries in both the number of units and the U.S. dollar volume of residential housing in the United States. They bought an estimated 30.4 billion dollars worth of residential property, according to the 2018 report of the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
The international buyers typically buy more expensive properties than the average existing home. The median price of a home sold to a Chinese buyer in the United States was 439,100 dollars (about 3 million yuan) last year, compared to 530,000 dollars in 2017, according to NAR.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, a lower-priced condominium could cost 500,000 dollars, said Qin, who runs a real estate company called ACEQ in Cupertino city in Santa Clara County, Northern California.
In Cupertino, which is home to the headquarters of Apple Inc., a single-family house costs at least 2 million dollars, she said.
"Traditionally, wealthy people, such as corporate executives, come here to invest in expensive properties; these days we see more parents buying homes for their children who study or work here," said Qin, who has nearly 20 years of experience in the Bay Area real estate.
Her observation echoes an NAR survey which found among the top five purchasing countries, Chinese buyers were the most likely to purchase a house for student housing.
While she receives more inquiries from Chinese middle-class buyers, Qin said the number of Chinese buyers dropped last year. "In the past we had two out of 10 clients from China; now only one out of 20 is from China," she said.
California, especially the Bay Area, will continue to be the favorite among Chinese home buyers, said Kangni Yuan, regional sales manager of ACE Capital Group, a real estate firm based in San Mateo County, about 32 km south of San Francisco.
"Several factors play a role, such as the economic growth in the state, the good weather, the convenient air transportation and the large concentration of Chinese communities," she said.